The Department of Post has a network of around 1,60,000 post offices across India, with around 1,39,000 in rural India. Each post office serves around 8,400 people and the annual mail traffic is around 625-crore. Satyawan Shinde, director of Shreeji, and his brother Kashinath came to Mumbai in 2006 and worked in the post office for two years. The duo quickly mastered the nuances of postal operations. In 2008, when the postal department was challenged to meet the increased load and up its efficiency, it decided to outsource some of its work. Shinde took the opportunity and secured a license to become the postal department’s official partner.
With this entrepreneurial move, Shreeji Enterprises was born in Mumbai’s Andheri suburb. Shinde needed a business model that was customer-centric. “Initially, with manual operations, we managed 5,000 to 10,000 articles in a day,” says Shinde. The model was similar to courier services, except the delivery is made by the postal department. “Consider a print firm in Vasai wants to deliver an envelope of documents to its client in Bandra Kurla Complex. We collect the envelope from the printer, paste a barcode on it along with the address label as per the postal requirements. Then, depending on the weight of the envelope and the distance that it is supposed to travel, the cost is calculated; postal stamps worth the cost were then affixed to the envelope. This is followed by location-wise sorting and bundling before delivering it to the designated post office,” explains Shinde.
Shreeji continued with the manual approach until 2011. “The workload was increasing by the day. Adding manpower was no longer an option. We had to bring in automation,” says Shinde. The company looked for a system that was efficient enough for managing the franking load. Pitney Bowes’ franking machine was the answer.
“Pitney Bowes’ Connect+ is a workhorse. Consider the case of bank statements. The length of the statement will be different for different account holders. That means every statement will be of a different weight. Weighing it manually and calculating the costs for stamping was nightmarish. Connect+ makes it a piece of cake.”
The Pitney Bowes Connect+ benefit
The biggest courier service provider has around 10,000 outlets across the country and comes at a higher cost. The wide network of postal network, lower cost and its ability to deliver almost anywhere in India has constantly driven the department’s traffic.
Since Shreeji’s first automatic Pitney Bowes machine six years ago, it has added three more. The latest two being the Connect+, capable of printing up to 180 letters per minute and features a 10.2-inch colour touch-screen display.
“We now process maximum mails in minimum time,” says Shinde. “The Connect+ has made us more efficient, enhanced our capacity to handle more than two-lakh mails in a day. Today we have grown from a 60-client firm to 1,200-client firm.”
Among the features, Shinde points out to the ability of the machines to minimise calculation errors, job segregation, report generation and data storing for future recalls. As a result, Shinde has been able to reduce manpower cost, which he can pass on to the customers. “Efficiency coupled with reduced rates, has helped us add more clients,” says Shinde.
Today, Shreeji is well equipped to handle a mailing capacity of 500 tonnes per day.
Shinde says, there are other companies offering shipping and mailing machines, but it was Pitney Bowes’ service which has been a differentiator. “Just having the machines and increasing the speed of operation is not sufficient. It has to be backed by service and proper maintenance only then can we assure the customers that we can perform two-lakh mail jobs in a day,” Shinde explains.
The mailing industry in India is evolving, and fast. Mailing pieces are more targeted, and the Pitney Bowes’ solutions, Shinde says, are making the process of document delivery much simpler.
country director, Pitney Bowes India
“In today’s economic environment, organizations are looking for new ways to retain, acquire and grow the value for their customers. With the Connect+ Series, organisations can now build customer relationships and grow their businesses by turning all of their physical communications into new opportunities to help increase revenue.”